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This Week in the Ottawa Valley

Invasive Species: Watch Out for Zebra Mussels

  1. Zebra Mussels (Dreissena Bugensis) are an invasive species that have been found infecting the waterways of Renfrew County within the past 3 years. They were brought overseas in ship ballasts from Asia and were first found in the Great Lakes. Since then they have been traveling in their veliger form by water currents and recreational vehicles.
  2. Zebra Mussels filter water, about a litre a day, and remove contaminants. Though that may sound positive, the contaminants accumulate within the Mussels and when eaten by predators like the Lesser and Greater Scaup, they have higher contaminate traces which can affect their reproduction. Also, the removal of contaminants allows for more sunlight to come into the water increasing the growth of aquatic weeds. The increase of sunlight also alters the habitat for some fish that require sunlight such as the light-sensitive species walleye.
  3. Humans are affected as well by Zebra Mussels. They colonize and grow on areas that are large such as logs and rocks. Also the bottom of boats; into cottage drain pipes leading into the water and docks are just a few places they will grow.

There are some things that can be done to help prevent the spread of Zebra Mussels from lake to lake:

Inspect your boat, trailer, boating equipment, fishing tackle and nets and remove any visible plants or animals before leaving any water body.

Drain water from motor, live well, bilge and transom wells while on land before leaving the water body.

Empty your bait bucket on land before leaving the water body. Never release live bait into a water body, or release animals from one water body into another.

Wash/Dry your fishing tackle, nets, boat and equipment to kill harmful species that were not seen at the boat launch. Some species can survive for several days out of water, so it is important to:

  • rinse your boat and equipment with hot tap water (> 40° C); or
  • spray your boat and equipment with high pressure water (250 psi); or
  • dry your boat and equipment for at least five days, before transporting to another water body

For further information check out